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Meat and Cholesterol -- Do I Have to Stop Eating Meat if I Have High Cholesterol?

By Betsy Lee-Frye

Updated December 02, 2008

(LifeWire) - Q: I've just been diagnosed with high cholesterol. Does that mean I need to stop eating meat?

A: The short answer is no; but the long answer is a bit more complicated. If you are a heavy meat eater, you'll probably need to cut back.

People with high cholesterol don't have to stop eating meat, or any other food, for that matter. It is recommended that people with high cholesterol consume 6 ounces (or less) of meat daily. According to the National Institutes of Health, that's a piece of meat about the size of only one deck of playing cards.

It's important to remember that some meat is leaner than others. Skinless fish, chicken or turkey is a great option. It's important that people avoid eating the following meats that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol:

  • Goose or duck
  • Sausage, hot dogs or brats
  • Processed meats, like turkey, bologna or ham
  • Organ meats, such as liver or kidney

Meat preparation is also an important factor. When you are preparing meat, be sure to trim all of the fat before cooking. Instead of frying meat, cook it in the oven. The meat can be baked, roasted or broiled. You could also try steaming, boiling or microwave methods of preparation.

Memorial Care Medical Centers recommend meatless entrees at least two times a week.  Fish, another great meat alternative, should be on your plate at least twice a week.


"Are You Cholesterol Smart?" memorialcare.org. 2008. Memorial Care Medical Centers. 17 Nov. 2008 <http://www.memorialcare.org/health/whm/subCholQuiz.cfm>.

"Heart Disease and Diet." MedlinePlus. 2008. National Institutes of Health. 17 Nov. 2008 <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002436.htm>.

LifeWire, a part of The New York Times Company, provides original and syndicated online lifestyle content. Betsy Lee-Frye is an independent journalist living in Kansas City, Mo. Her work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Kansas City Magazine and Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications.
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